Sunday, May 14, 2017


my kids call her "Mom"
It's such a simple word, it means so much to all of us.

But who is Mom? Is she the lady that gave you your life, or the lady that gave you children?

I can remember the rallying of my in-laws when their mom was dying, the sweet devotion, the understanding that life was never going to be the same again without Mom. I remember her gentle laugh at the jokes I told her and her commentary along the way, making the joke even funnier by her devoted attention to the story I told. I loved her stories from her childhood, simple wonderful tales of innocence. Yet her children are all so serious. She was the only mother-in-law I could have possibly loved.

Seeing my kids and their devotion to their mother, it makes me happy to know they do care, that they love her as they do, it kind of validates my choice in a life-long partner, one I would never change, even if she hogs the blankets at night.

There is my daughter Ellen, who can only say two words: Mamma and Happy. Mamma is who makes her happy, it is her life sentence that says it all, nothing more is needed. Mamma who gave up a lot in life for the care of her special needs daughter, advocating, consoling and praying along the way. And when my daughter almost lost her leg, a little piece of Mamma was taken away for a while, always fearful of the next shoe to drop, never knowing when. When Mamma found out her first child would be disabled by birth, she never abandoned her, just intensified the love and care and advocated for her.

There is my son Anthony, who strove to be a perfect son because he couldn't disappoint his mother whom he saw as the perfect mother. Working hard and taking care of his older sister, playing with her and being frustrated by her, always loving her no matter what. Yet when he needed special love and guidance, Mom was there before he even realized he needed the support, and so she prayed for him, not so much for success but for happiness until the day came in 2014 when one day her grandchild had an outstanding mother answering all Mamma's prayers for her son's happiness.

And there is my son Michael, who always had a mind of his own, who owns an innate goodness he got from his Mom and so he too tries not to disappoint her. Everyday Mom prays for him, knowing that God will find the time that he did to mold Michael into the caring person he really is, and she never negated his inner will or deep love for her.

There is my son Joseph who struggled in his young or short life until he succumbed to a fatal disease that took him away from his mother. Yet every day she was at his side at the hospital, talking to him, holding him singing and playing with him. He is memorialized in so many ways in our lives because of his mom's love and remembrance.

She has given of herself with dogged determination for all of her children, and when they call they askā€¦ "Can I talk to mom?" Yes, even though you may be interrupting her talk with God about you.

Mom is an interesting word, it means so much.

It means never having to worry there is no one who loves you. It means you will always have a place in your heart for a very special lady to your dying day: Mom. It means she will remind you that you are not so perfect, yet she loves you. She will give up her own happiness for yours, her last meal so you don't go hungry and as she falls to sleep will carry you in her heart.

There is my mom, who I did all I could for her, whenever she called, giving up family time when I needed to for her sake, remembering her in my childhood holding her hand as we crossed the street, watching her turn batter into cake and bits and pieces into masterpiece meals. Her laughter still rings in my ear and so I think of her every day.

When Mom was dying, almost in a coma, lying in her bed I leaned into her ear and whispered to her the thing I should have said from the first day: "Mom, I love you."



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